Native fish moved from Rice's Weir

Native fish will be moved from Rice’s Weir near Barmah today (March 11) to avoid potential fish deaths from low dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in the weir pool.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Environmental Water Manager Simon Casanelia said Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) data showed DO levels at the weir, which is  on the Broken Creek, were dropping.

 “This extended period of hot weather means water temperatures have increased, which  reduces the oxygen available in the water,” Mr Casanelia said.

A blue green algae warning has been issued for the Broken Creek. Blue green algae also reduces oxygen levels in waterways as it grows and decomposes.

“DO is an important indicator of water quality – low DO levels can cause fish stress,” Mr Casanelia said.

“Generally native fish and animals are pretty resilient and tend to move to deeper pools or shelter. Fortunately the DO levels above and below Rice’s Weir are good. While the fish ladders we installed some years ago mean native fish can easily move up or downstream to access better quality water, we’ve decided to act early and help the fish move to avoid the possibility of native fish deaths.”

Mr Casanelia said water flows through Rice’s Weir were currently at the maximum possible rate but DO levels at the site were unlikely to significantly improve until the weather cools.

The water flows along the lower Broken Creek are a combination of Commonwealth environmental water and water in transit to meet operational, trade and downstream demand (eg for irrigation).

Arthur Rylah Institute staff (from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) and Goulburn Broken CMA staff will move the fish using electrofishing techniques and a fish transporter.

No native fish deaths have been reported to date. The community is encouraged to report fish deaths to the EPA on 1300 372 842.

Goulburn Broken CMA will continue to work with GMW, EPA and other agencies to monitor water conditions and to address any problems if they occur.

Updates and information about blue green algae can be found at: www.gmwater.com.au